The Woodsmen have progressed to the QFA Friday Night Competition Grand Final with a tight 6 point victory over Maroochydoore on Friday night at McCarthy Homes Oval.
In what was a tight match, with the lead never being greater than 12 points, the Woodies recovered from a slow start to hold on for a narrow victory.
It was a frenetic opening 10 minutes with the Roos zipping the ball around, running hard and managing to camp themselves in their attacking 50 to apply pressure to a shell-shocked Woodies outfit. The Woodsmen defenders were tackling, spoiling and defending well, but when they won control of the ball the decision making was slow and poor as they looked to kick to short contests, often waited for spare men that weren't there and turned the ball over several times with short kicks. In the end, a goal to the Roos was the ultimate circuit breaker, finally allowing the Woodsmen to get out of their defensive 50 and settle into the game. However, the Roos were still willing to run harder and spread and seemed to outnumber the Woodies at every contest as their flankers often pushed up to stoppages to gain control and neutralise the strong Woodies on-ball division. The quarter time siren couldn't come quick enough and the the Woodsmen were perhaps fortunate to be down by just 8 points after struggling to control the ball for any significant period.
After some frank quarter time discussions and a reset, the Woodies came out strongly in the second quarter, missing two relatively simple set shot opportunities before kicking 3 quick goals in a 4 minute burst to take control of the game. Hockley and Evans were proving a handful in the air, while the dangerous Banim also hit the scoreboard with some trademark crumbing work. Ben Ness was carrying on his form from the previous week, getting a severe case of leather poisoining, Judson was typically strong in tight, while Roderick's work rate continued to be a huge plus for the Woodies as he relentlessly patrolled the wing. Thomson and Green began to get on top in the ruck, particularly around the ground - however the Roos responded by sending their ruckman deep forward where he proved difficult to contain, managing to kick 2 quick goals inside 2 minutes to level the scores. In a quarter where the Woodies enjoyed huge advantages in possession and field position, this could have been a killer blow - however another thrust forward and the ball landed in the dangerous hands of Banim, who once again made no mistake as he gave the Woodsmen a 6 point half-time lead.
The 3rd quarter proved to be somewhat of an arm-wrestle, with the Woodies enjoying dominance in field position but failing to create much opportunity as the Roos showed strong defensive attributes, as the ball was continually pushed forward for the Woodies. With the Woodies talls set up down the line, the Roos repeatedly kicked to their advantage allowing the Woodies to control the ball, but unfortunately unable to influence the scoreboard too much. Mihalopoulos on-ball was becoming influential but a series of simple skill errors continually cost the Woodsmen scoring opportunities before a rare push forward resulted in a goal against the run of play for the Roos, who were able to capitalise on a rare deep entry through their hard running and work-rate to create a much needed goal. However, the Woodies responded almost immediately as Mihalopoulos sharked a centre tap, got it forward quickly before Davis was able to finish neatly with a checkside for the Woodies to regain a 7 point buffer going into the last break.
The final quarter started poorly for the Woodsmen, with another simple opportunity gone begging before the Roos pushed forward to kick 2 quick goals and take a decisive lead at the 10 minute mark of the final term. However, once again the Woodsmen responded with some clean work out of the middle resulting in a mark and another goal to Evans who was proving a handful coming out of the goalsquare, particularly as players tired and the arcs had a little more room to move for the talls. Holding a narrow 2 point lead the Woodies again won a crucial centre clearance to get the ball forward and again Evans marked about 30 out on a slight angle with a chance to put the Woodsmen ahead by more than a straight kick. However the resultant shank was marked next to the behind post by the ever alert Hockley, a Roos player who was eager to prevent Hockley opening up the angle encroached on the mark to put Hockley on the goal line for a certain goal and an 8 point lead.
With at least 5 players now suffering from cramp, the Woodies had to hold on for a desperate last 5 minutes. Hockley went deep in defence, while Green and Thomson shared ruck duties with one floating across the defensive half. The Roos pushed the ball deep forward multiple times, but couldn't really gain clean possession as the Woodies clogged up the defensive 50, forced repeat stoppages and locked the ball down. A rushed behind gave the Woodies clean possession and the ability to reset before yet another simple skill error set hearts racing, however as the Roos pushed forward again the siren sounded with the Woodsmen holding a 6 point margin to progress to the Grand Final on Friday August 31 at Coorparoo.
Woodsmen 0.1 - 1 | 4.3 - 27 | 5.5 - 35 | 7.6 - 48
Maroochydoore 1.3 - 9 | 3.3 - 21 | 4.4 - 28 | 6.6 - 42
Best: Ness, Thomson, Mihalopoulos, Roderick, Davis, Judson
Goals: Evans 3, Banim 2, Davis, Hockley 1